By Nancy Hyman
Doctors, your leadership is the key to practice growth! Let’s breakdown common elements of a successful marketing plan:
- Determine desired patient flow (New starts and active patients)
- Appoint a marketing team
- Track previous year/current year statistics (Referrals, production, etc)
- Develop strategies
- Implement a task list
- Assign a budget
In this blog we will discuss your vision, establishing your marketing team, and initial guidelines for a successful plan.
The Doctor clarifies the flow of patients-patients per day and the preferred number of patient days in each month. Look at your demographic area and set fees based on your patient population. Share your production goals with your team and create a realistic vision of your practice based on facts. Your Ortho2 software (and correct input) is an integral part of fact gathering and statistical review.
Select a Team Leader and Marketing Team
- Key team members meet weekly to discuss progress on active strategies.
- Doctor and full team meet monthly for a statistical review of the plan (professional referrals, patient to patient referrals, RSVP’s to holiday party, etc.)
I recommend selecting one team leader covering external and internal marketing with support staff to implement your plan or assign section leaders for each portion of the plan (DDS, patient to patient, community, etc.) The team leader or section leaders will meet with the Doctor monthly and meet weekly as a team to determine progress.
Track Each Initiative, Monthly, Quarterly and Annually
Track the referral source at the new patient phone call, asking“ How did you hear about us?” When promotional cards are utilized (DDS referral cards, patient to patient referral cards, etc.), collect returned cards, and include the numbers on an excel spreadsheet for quick review.
List Strategies and Review Volume
Current initiatives may include a monthly oral hygiene drawing, a “Like” Us On Facebook promotion, and a dated event directed toward professional referrers.
Doctors, please note: As mentioned above keep responses for review. Measure success of each strategy based on returned cards. As an example, if you receive an average of 20 hygiene cards per month and that number dips you will be aware that staff has neglected the promotion.
Review your current strategies and place them in one of three categories:
Strategies that are on the upswing or have peaked are to be continued, and if peaked, refreshment is advised. Promotions on the decline are to be eliminated and replaced. Be certain to include evergreen events anticipated by your target audience in your annual marketing calendar. I strongly recommend an annual DDS promotional event such as a Cinco de Mayo or holiday party, sporting event, etc. with occasional “tweaks” to maintain excitement.
In the office of Dr. William Hyman we offer an annual tamale party during the first week in December. Each year one aspect is changed- instant photos, raffle every 15 minutes, a parting gift for all attendees. etc.
Locate Fresh Concepts
Attend the Ortho2 Users Group Meeting, meet with the Ortho2 consultants, review trade newsletters, and conduct team brainstorm sessions. Team brainstorming consists of each team member complimenting two current strategies and offering one suggested strategy. A team leader meets with the full team without the Doctor present. The team presents a comprehensive list to the Doctor and each suggestion is presented categorized as yes, no, or future consideration.
Design a Plan
Steps to creation of new strategy include selection of a leader and team, creation of announcement, definition of the marketing plan, and putting accountability systems in place. Doctors, please note: Hand each patient a card promoting a designated strategy. I like to switch strategy focus bi-monthly.
Your marketing plan support may include e-blast announcements, in-office posters, handouts and referral cards, direct mail, and Facebook and Twitter posts.
Determine the frequency of the promotion. Patients may be asked for referrals daily, Facebook may updated weekly, OSHA lecture event may be held annually, etc.
Review all strategies annually. Check graphics, effectiveness of implementation, expenditures, and results. Doctors, please note: Do not reprint anything without review and refreshment. This includes standard instructions, fee agreement, referral cards, etc.
Empower your team to assist you in reaching practice goals. With your direction and an organized plan implemented by your full team you will achieve practice success!
About the Author
Nancy Hyman is a speaker and practice growth consultant specializing in referral systems and increased case acceptance. Nancy developed the Practice Representative program for Practice Builders orthodontic division and established marketing plans for their clients from 2003-2009.She now shares this same program through Ortho Referral Systems. Ortho Referral Systems focuses on developing a marketing team utilizing current staff. All aspects of Nancy’s training strategies have been tested in the office of Dr. William R. Hyman and other orthodontic offices. Contact Nancy via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (323) 308-9817.